By Nathan Horowitz
Guatemalan jade has obsessed people for 3000 years, minus the 450 immediately following the Spanish conquest from modern scientists tracking down deposits to study its composition and genesis, to Olmecs and Maya for whom it was the congealed fertility of the earth itself, and who carved it into fantastic treasures: statuettes of gods and monsters, masks of rulers, and stiletto-like "bloodletters" that kings and queens jabbed into their flesh to pay back the gods for the gift of life with their precious blood.
Part adventure travel story, part meditation on faith, death, and desire in the layers of human history, "Blue Jade Fever" takes the reader from the time of the ancient Olmecs, when spirits lived in every stone, to the smog-choked streets of modern Guatemala City, and from a flea-bitten hut in the middle of nowhere to the corridors of Latin American power.
Cast of characters:
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